By: Jacob Elyachar, jakes-take.com
The Voice: Season Nine has entered the Live Playoffs!
Now, since coaches Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani are dating…things might get competitive between their teams. So that longtime Voice producer Mark Burnett did not have a culinary or infuriate the new couple…Gwen’s team faced Team Adam tonight.
In addition to the Top 10 that were selected in this season’s Knockout Rounds, each coach was allowed to invite one previously eliminated artist back to face America’s votes.
Which artists stole the show? Who were Team Adam and Team Gwen’s wild cards? Read on to find out!
Now, before we get to the recap! I wanted to let you know that I will be grading artists from now until the end of the season.
Up first to face America’s votes was Team Adam’s newly wed Blaine Mitchell. He tackled INXS’ “Never Tear Us Apart.” While Blaine was a good storyteller and earlier this season brilliantly showcased his voice, I have to say that I am extremely disappointed that he picked this song! He did not showcase the right amount of emotion and honesty that is supposed to be highlighted in this song. If you want to see an example of how an artist should perform this song, look no further to X Factor alum Melanie Masson, who stole the show with her powerhouse vocals during the 2012 season of X Factor UK. I don’t think Blaine might make it past this round. D+
Regina Love had the unique opportunity to be the first American to cover and debut Adele’s “Hello.” While Regina was ecstatic to learn that she got Adele’s new hit, I was worried that tackling this song would ruin her in the competition. I did sense some nerves from Regina as she shook her microphone, but I loved her lovely lower register during the first part of the song. Regina’s vocals stunned and shocked me and I thought that she took one of the spots on Team Gwen! B
Irish rocker Keith Semple is making his home country proud as he has been featured in numerous forms of Irish media. Adam had him tackle Mr. Big’s “To Be with You.” Keith instantly put a smile on my face with his energetic take on the 90s ballad. While his voice moved me during the performance, he should ixnay high-fiving the mosh pit on future performances because it could hinder his vocal performance! B-
17-year-old Shelby Brown has received tons of support from the southeast as her bowling alley appearances were packed! Her take on Linda Ronstadt’s timeless “You’re No Good” was the first performance that really really impressed me! Shelby’s superior vocals gave me chills and should receive an automatic pass to the Season Nine semifinals. A-
Gwen gave Korin Bukowski—Sarah McLaughlin’s “Adia” and a makeover for her live debut. I thought it was interesting that Gwen and the Powers That Be put that the song in that high key, because I thought at times that Korin’s voice either crack or go flat. While she does not look like the second coming of Michelle Chamuel, Korin still gave us a sturdy vocal performance. I look forward to see where she goes! B
I am so glad that Gwen gave Ellie Lawrence a second chance in the competition! Ellie rocked The Voice stage with her take on Elle King’s “Ex’s & Oh’s.” The vocals were superb and I loved seeing Ellie showcase her artistry, sass and confidence on the stage. Ellie’s appearance also transformed the show from amateur hour to a AMA or Grammy ceremony! If America votes for Ellie, she might take home the victory for Team Gwen. A
In all honesty, I have a bone to pick with Jeffrey Austin! Up to this point in the competition, I have not connected with him as an artist and I feel that he is extremely inferior to other members of Team Gwen. We already have a male torch singer who is far superior than Jeffrey. God, I wished I had a buzzer from America’s Got Talent, because I would have definitely buzzed Jeffrey! I thought that his Jessie Ware cover was complete garbage! F
Another artist that I would use my borrowed AGT buzzer on is the youngest artist remaining in the competition: Braiden Sunshine. While this kid gave me slivers of Golden Globe-winning actor Chris Colfer, I thought that his coach gave him too big of a song! His voice did not fit that song and I wish that America does not vote for him! F
Team Adam’s new kid on the block, Amy Vachal, tackled a standard part of the Great American Songbook: “The Way You Look Tonight.” Amy’s vocals were stunning and hypnotized viewers. I just hope that America chooses vocal quality over cuteness or sob stories when it comes to voting! B+
Viktor Kiraly closed out Team Gwen with a cover of Lisa Stansfield’s “All Around the World.” With Gwen’s guidance, he delivered probably the best male vocal of the night! I can definitely hear this song playing on Top 40 and Soul radio stations around the country. If Gwen needed to have one guy on her team, I would pick Viktor because of his voice, showmanship and potential to be a superstar! A-
I thought Adam shot himself in the foot by bringing back Chance Pena over twins Andi and Alex! I could not even listen to Chance’s warbly cover of “Barton Hollow,” because the vocals were inconsistent all across the board! He would the final artist that I would buzz if I had the AGT buzzer…because his performance was a train wreck! F
Jordan Smith had the honor of being the first artist to close out the Live Playoff performances. He had a monster of a song to slay: Beyonce’s “Halo!” Congratulations, Jordan! You were the first male artist of the night to make me get chills! I can guarantee you that tonight’s powerhouse vocal performance will take you directly to the Season Nine finale….where you belong! You are an inspiration and I am glad that you are on The Voice, Jordan! A+
Tomorrow night, Team Blake and Team Pharrell square off!
Team Adam artists that should move forward in the competition: Shelby Brown, Amy Vachal & Jordan Smith
Team Gwen artists that should move forward in the competition: Regina Love, Ellie Lawrence & Viktor Kiraly
Melanie Masson’s performance of “Never Tear Us Apart” belongs to ITV and Syco Entertainment.